PARIS, June 12 A French court breached freedom
of expression laws when it censured the glossy magazine Paris
Match in 2005 for publishing photos and an article about the
illegitimate son of Prince Albert of Monaco, Europe's human
rights court ruled on Thursday.
The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled
that the article in which "Ms C" alleged that the ruler of
Monaco had fathered her son, and photos of the prince with the
child, fell outside the sphere of private life protected by
"As this was an issue of political significance, the court
found that the public had had a legitimate interest in knowing
of the child's existence and being able to conduct a debate on
the possible implications for political life in the Principality
of Monaco," the court wrote.
Prince Albert II is the head of the centuries-old House of
Grimaldi and son of the late Prince Rainier III and actress
Grace Kelly. He married South African former national swimming
champion Charlene Wittstock in 2011.
The couple announced last month they were expecting a child.
Prince Albert sued Paris Match in May 2005 in a French
court, which awarded him 50,000 euros ($68,100) in damages. That
award was upheld in an appeals court.
After the original ruling, Prince Albert issued a statement
publicly acknowledging that the child of Togolese-born air
hostess Nicole Coste was his.
Thursday's four-to-three judgment is not final, as any party
has the right to request that it be referred to the full court.
If that request is deemed valid, the case will be heard by the
grand chamber of 17 judges, but it is rare for a case to be
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Mark John and Sonya